Tuesday, January 01, 2008

We are no different then them: Dt 9:4-6

"Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people." (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
Several years ago, while living in Las Vegas, I lead a weekly Bible study at our local jail. As you can imagine, the jail at Las Vegas is an interesting place. While leading the study I met a young man who shared his story with me. He was a Christian but began to drift away from the Lord. He began drinking and his life began to snowballed out of control. Finally, one night while drunk, he molesting his daughter and was arrested. In one night he lost his family and his freedom. What struck me most from his story was that the the entire journey of his fall took only six months; six months from starting to drink to laying in a jail. As I listened to his story, the one thought that kept running through my mind was, "there but for the grace of God go I." It reminded me of what Paul cautioned the Corinthians, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." (1 Corintheans 10:12)

In this scripture from Deuteronomy, Moses was warning the Israelites not to think too highly of themselves. It is so easy to interpret the blessings and victories in God as being rewards and evidence of our righteousness before God. However, these things are not evidence of our righteousness but rather they testify to the righteousness of God. We must not allow our position in God to cause us to think that we are better than others; better than the lost and dying of this world. The truth is that God loves us, not because we are righteous, but because we are His. "He came to His own , and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:11-12)

We are no different than those in the world. We are stiff necked sinners who have been saved by grace; a salvation not of our own but of Him who died for our sins. In this there is great news for the world, "If God can save me, he can save anyone." God loves us, not because of what we have done, but because of who we are. "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life." (1 Tim 1:15-16)

David Robison

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